Allen's Hummingbird, taxonomic name Selasphorus sasin

Currently cataloged in our collection database are 96,000 bird specimens, 28,500 mammal specimens, and 11,000 egg and nest specimens. Specimens originate from over 120 countries, but the strengths of the department are its extensive holdings of birds and mammals from western North America, as well as important collections from Mexico and Central America, the Galapagos Islands, the Solomon Islands, China, Myanmar, the Philippines, and eastern Africa. The department contains one of the world's largest collections of marine mammals with several thousand specimens of seals, sea lions, whales, dolphins, sea otters, and sirenians.

The collections are available to researchers, artists, and other individuals with pre-approved projects that require access.  The Department of Ornithology & Mammalogy may be able to provide additional information about some specimens that may not be recorded in our on-line databases. Researchers needing access to specimens in the Ornithology & Mammalogy collections should contact the Collections Manager (mflannery at If specimens are needed for a loan, please refer to our Loan Policy.

Accuracy and Limitation of Liability

Although we make every attempt to provide reliable taxonomic, biological, distribution and ecological data, we cannot guarantee the absolute accuracy of these data. Identifications are provisional and should be verified by direct inspection of the specimens whenever possible. Additionally, we strive to keep up with continuing changes in taxonomy, nomenclature, and geopolitical boundaries, but not all changes may be immediately reflected in the database. We appreciate notification of any errors or inconsistencies in the data. The Department of Ornithology and Mammalogy, the California Academy of Sciences, or any of its staff or associates are not liable for loss or damages resulting from use of these data.

Loan Policy

Most specimens from the Department of Ornithology and Mammalogy are available for loan to reputable individuals from other recognized research institutions, museums, government agencies, and colleges. We do not loan research specimens as teaching material, and loans are not made to the general public. General inquiries about specimens in the collections can be made directly to the collections manager. Birds and mammals are perhaps the most protected and regulated groups of living organisms, which makes collecting additional specimens difficult or impossible. Added to this are state, federal, and international laws governing ownership, transfer, and disposition of research material, which place more restrictions on the collection and use of our specimens. Because we adhere to such laws and fully realize the intrinsic scientific value and unique importance of every specimen in our care, all loans of specimens must be consistent with our loan policy. Failure to comply with our loan policy may result in loss of loan privileges.

Department Visits

The Department of Ornithology and Mammalogy is not open to the general public. Individuals with specific needs may have access to study specimens within the collections if plans are made in advance. Entrance to, and use of, the collections is free of cost to researchers, graduate & undergraduate students, educators, government scientists, and artists. Commercial users, such as for-profit environmental firms, archaeological companies, advertising agencies, and the entertainment industry, may be levied a nominal charge. Please contact the collections manager (mflannery at directly with a request to visit the collections at least one week prior to arrival. Such studies should be conducted during normal operating hours, weekdays, 9am - 5pm. Long-term visits must be organized through the collections manager.

Terms of Use

These databases and all images within them are owned and copyrighted by the California Academy of Sciences, ©2009, or licensed to it.  The data and images may be used freely by individuals and organizations for purposes of basic research, education and conservation.  These data and images may not be used for commercial or for-profit purposes without the express written consent of the California Academy of Sciences, and may not be repackaged, resold, or redistributed in any form.

Use of the data or images in publications, dissertations and theses, or other scientific reports, should be accompanied by an acknowledgement of the Department of Ornithology & Mammalogy, California Academy of Sciences, as the source for the information.  Please provide the Department with separates of articles resulting from the use of these data or images.  This helps us to document the use of specimens as “vouchers” in the literature.  It also helps us to justify continued funding for the collections so that these resources remain available into the future.

Contact the Collections Manager

For inquiries please contact:

  • Maureen Flannery (Moe)
  • Collections Manager
  • California Academy of Sciences
  • 55 Music Concourse Drive
  • San Francisco, CA 94118
  • 415-379-5371 (direct)

Types of Preparation

We prepare our collections in three ways:  wet/fluid, skins, and skeletal.